Friday 21 October 2016

How diligent students can do even better

Going to college...

Aoife Walsh

Published 25/05/2016 | 02:30

Aoife Walsh guidance counsellor
Aoife Walsh guidance counsellor

Last week, this column focused on study tips for Leaving Cert students who were feeling under-prepared for the exams. However, many students all over the country have been working diligently all year and now feel well prepared. Here are some tips and ideas for those who feel ready to meet the challenge, which may help maximise results.

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Maintain balance

One of the most important things to remember is to keep balance. Having put in hard work up until now, know it will pay off. The Leaving Cert can be an exhausting experience, especially if you have a full load of exams over the first few days. Therefore, you need to be well rested and ready to meet this challenge and not burnt out on June 8. Study and revision is important, but so too is exercise, sleep, food and meeting friends. These are also the first things we neglect when feeling stressed. Make sure you make time for all these things, but that too much time is not invested in any one. Work on being present and focusing on each activity in which you are currently engaged without worrying about what is next.

Keep a routine

This may be difficult now that school has finished but it is extremely important. In one way, this is a lovely time of year for Leaving Cert students with ceremonies such as graduations, but try and remain focused and work around these.

Consider where you lost out in the past

Spend a little time considering the gaps in your knowledge and weak points in exam technique. Take on the advice of teachers and consider mock results. Have all the problems that came up during the year been addressed? Do you read questions carefully or sometimes misread them? Did you have timing problems in the past? Do you need more detail, longer answers or more specific definitions? Prioritise weaker areas during study sessions.

Practice, practice, practice

It is important to keep learning and reviewing content, but equally important to focus on exam technique and to test yourself. One of the best ways to do this is by completing as many practice questions as possible. Always do these under exam conditions e.g. stick to the time allowed for each section in the exam and see what can be achieved in this time. Most students will have exam papers, but all past papers and marking schemes are available on

Give more time now to early exams

Some candidates may have long gaps between exams and this time can be used to focus on exams that are timetabled for later in the month. While students should not neglect any subject, it may be wise to prioritise those that come first. Plan this well to ensure all subjects get the necessary amount of time overall.

Aoife Walsh is a guidance counsellor at Malahide Community School, Co Dublin

Question: My daughter is going into fifth year.  Where can we get access to the points required for CAO courses, alternative routes to her career,  and are there websites that would point her in the right direction?

Answer: You can find all points for Leaving Cert 2015 in the course descriptions on has information on the full range of choices, including the CAO and post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses, which may be used as an alternative entry route to college.

You will find the full list of courses and points for 2016 in the Irish Independent CAO offers supplements this August. However, you must remember that the points and grading system will be changing for Leaving Cert 2017, therefore the points will be very different by the time your daughter does her Leaving Cert. 

Your daughter should select subjects for Leaving Cert in which she is interested and enjoys. Focus on keeping anxiety and stress levels low, taking one day at a time and establishing a good routine. In my opinion, this will allow any student to achieve their best in the Leaving Cert.

Important dates


Open Day/interview Day — Killester College of Further Education


Open Night — Bray Institute of Further Education

Open Day — Cabra Community College

May 27

End of Year Exhibition of Students Work — St. John’s Central College, Cork

May 30

Second round interviews  - St. John’s Central College, Cork

May 31

Statement of application record Sent to all applicants  - CAO

Open Day for Mature Students- St. John’s Central College, Cork

June 1

Information Sessions - Roslyn Park College

Irish Independent

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